GENERAL INFORMATION: Kusadasi is one of the most popular seaside resorts in Turkey, attracting a large number of tourists each year. It has a population of approximately 50,000, and its close proximity to the many ancient cities, archeological sites, villages and parks makes it an advantageous port of call.
Kusadasi means "bird island", a name derived from the small island of Guvercin Adasi (Pigeon Island) which is now connected to the city by a causeway. Guvercin Adasi is home to a famous defensive castle built to protect against enemy attack, a monument that can easily be see as your ship sails into the harbor.
Twenty minutes outside of Kusadasi, close to the town of Selcuk, is the well-preserved ancient city of Ephesus, one of the best examples of ancient Roman architecture. Also within the vicinity are the ruins of St. John's Basilica, the religious shrine of The Virgin Mary's House, and the single remaining column of the temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
The port of Kusadasi was very active for several centuries, however, the Kusadasi of today was founded by the Venetians. Two hundred years after the Conquest of Constantinople the port became a major trading post with Europe and Africa. The Ottomans fortified the harbor and built many new buildings and mosques that are still intact. Today, Kusadasi is a haven for shoppers, home to excellent beaches, and is best known for its historical and archaeological sites.
HISTORY: Since the 8th Millennium BC, Turkey was home to the oldest human settlements on earth. During the 3rd millennium BC (the OLD Bronze Age), an early Hittite nation settled in the central plains. Following the migration of the "sea people" from Greece the Hadrian empire collapsed. Alexander the Great marched his army into Asia Minor two centuries later and routed the Persians After the 2nd century BC the coastline became the commercial and political core of the Roman province of Asia Minor.
From the beginning of the 14th century to the middle of the 15th century, the Ottomans gradually carved away at the Byzantine Empire. In 1453, Constantinople, the target of the Ottomans since the time of Osman, was finally captured. Istanbul became the heart of a vigorous and youthful empire.
Suleyman became Sultan in 1520 while the Ottoman Empire was already considerable, but under him the expanse of the empire doubled, stretching from the Balkans and Greece to the Black Sea, west to Iraq and southward into Africa.
The Ottomans sided with Germany during World War I. After the Allies won, Britain and France divided the Arab provinces, under the heading "League of Nations". Plans for the division of Anatolia (the plains) were drawn up, and Greece invaded in order to capture disputed territory. Three days after the Greek invasion, Mustafa Kemal Pasha (later named Ataturk), the victorious commander of the Turkish forces at Gallipoli, arrived at the northeast Black Sea port of Samaun and began the three-year national struggle for independence. The allied powers signed an armistice in 1922. The Treaty of Lausanne (1923) recognized Turkey's present boundaries. Turkey was proclaimed a republic on October 29, 1923, with its first elected President - Mustafa Kemal, and designated capital - Ankara. Later, though nazi Germany's early successes resulted in a popular call to join the war on the side of Germany to avenge the humiliation of World War I, the government remained neutral. At the end of the war, with the impending defeat of Germany, Turkey joined the Allies.